LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE! I can think of few times in my life I’ve walked away from a conversation so fired up!
Today, we had the opportunity to chat with Chef Danielle Leoni, chef/owner of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, who’s fighting for sustainability in both the food we eat and the industry at large. Chef Leoni has been a food fighter from the beginning. Her positions on responsible sourcing and a holistic approach to hospitality have garnered her attention from prominent organizations like the James Beard Foundation, but it’s the pandemic has brought her message to the masses.
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- Beginning in campaigning for the hospitality industry during Covid
- Breadfruit and Rum Bar closed due to safety
- Decided takeout model wasn’t suitable
- Sent a letter to Governor with suggestions to help independent hospitality businesses
- Over 1000 business owners signed the letter
- Ideas put to the Governor
- Stop all penalties for sales tax payments
- 24month payment plan for sales tax
- Waive fees for liquor licenses – this was accepted
- Moratorium on commercial evictions – this was accepted
- Clear guidelines for reopening of hospitality businesses
- No intentions of reopening soon
- Covid has given us a lifetime opportunity
- We shape our food system
- Hospitality workers are not respected
- Seen as having “jobs” and not careers
- The “paid help”
- Hospitality shouldn’t be valued any less than other industries
- The cost of reopening
- What is the cost of giving team member fair wages?
- Raising prices
- The restaurant has no value is customers won’t compensate
- You can’t retire on a James Beard award
- Profits are minimal
- Most restaurants are treading water
- Initiatives for change
- Seafood sustainability
- Equity for women
- Health of the oceans
- Getting funding for the disadvantaged
- Everyone thinks it is really easy to be in the restaurant business
- It is not our sole responsibility to fix the food system
- Speak up for inequalities
- Pick up the phone to politicians
- Now is the best time to ask for systemic change
- Goal for the future
- To be seen as professionals and be paid equally and fairly
- Advice for restaurateurs
- Put thoughts and beliefs on paper
- Allow patrons and other business owners to support
- Find a representative and demand change